Pain fighting foods
Most of us pop a painkiller without a second’s thought, for a hangover, a cold or aching joints. However, new research shows we may be doing more harm than good. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found taking more than the daily recommended dosage of a painkiller, even just a small amount more, can sometimes have fatal consequences. Did you know that the nutrients in some of the foods we eat are nature’s own pain fighting tools? So maybe we should be having a rethink on the painkillers and experimenting with some different foods.
Broccoli is a healthy food superstar its so full of vitamin C – just one cup provides 135% of your daily recommended intake and nutrients that protect your body’s cells from damage. Add a little to as many meals as you can to maximise its healing power.
When your bicycle squeaks, you oil it, well the same rules apply to your body. But the kind of oil you use does matter veggie or nut-based oils are full of omega-3s, which help reduce inflammation and keep your tissues and joints moving. Try leafy greens sautéed or roasted vegetables with a drizzle on the top.
Rich in beta-carotene, carrots help protect your cells and prevent pain. Roast them in ginger and garlic (two other pain fighters!) for a flavourful side dish.
Pineapple is packed with these three key vitamins for treating pain: vitamin C, manganese, and thiamin. Add it to your favourite breakfast smoothie or eat it plain.
Ginger root has natural anti inflammatory properties, it soothes joints and can also benefit an upset stomach. Not a fan of it in your food? Try it in your tea or finely chopped up in a smoothie.
Pinto beans are rich in pain-fighting minerals, copper, and manganese, these can help to keep those aches at bay. Plus, as they’re protein-packed and filled with fibre, they’ll help you stay fuller for longer.
Salmon is a deep-sea fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is a great addition to every diet, even if you aren’t living with pain. Foods with this type of healthy fat are thought to have numerous benefits for health, including a reduction in inflammation. In addition to its healthy fats, salmon also provides calcitonin, which has been shown in clinical studies to reduce the inflammation in joints and may protect against pain from osteoarthritis.
Turmeric, also known as curcumin, is a spice that gives curry and other Indian foods their unique yellow colour. It also seems to have anti-inflammatory effects and has been studied as a possible way to ease the chronic pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Try to include it in your cooking on a regular basis — it combines well with ginger in curries.
Red grapes contain resveratrol, a chemical compound that is thought to have anti-inflammatory benefits. Resveratrol is also found in foods such as berries and peanuts.
Cherries are said to be good for preventing muscle pain. The bright red colour of the cherries, called anthocyanins, are anti-inflammatories, which may decrease oxidative damage to muscles after exercising. Researchers at the Sports and Exercise Science Research Centre at London South Bank University in the UK found that 90 per cent of athletes who were given cherry juice before and after training reported a return of muscle strength within 24 hours.
And finally – move it to lose it!
Exercise encourages lymphatic drainage and rids your body of harmful waste products, a surplus of which can lead to pain. The more efficient your body is at this, the quicker the inflammation process will be resolved.